Friday, February 25, 2022

8 Oscar Categories Won't Be Presented Live

Robin Robin is my favorite so far for
Animated Short, but this category
won't be presented live on Oscar night.
Several categories will not be presented live on the Oscars on March 27, like on the Tonys, yet there will be time for a bogus "Fan Favorite" award decided by Twitter users. The missing categories will be presented in a pre-broadcast ceremony. The winners will be announced during the televised show with a list of the nominees flashed on the screen and (presumably) brief excerpts from their acceptance speeches edited into the broadcast. The exiled categories will be Best Documentary Short, Film Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling, Original Score, Production Design, Animated Short Film, Live Action Short Film, and Best Achievement in Sound. Why those and not Costume Design, Art Direction, Visual Effects??? This move is prompted by the falling ratings for the annual accolades and has been attempted once before. In 2018, a similar bloodletting of categories was proposed, then quickly abandoned following an industry backlash and threats of a boycott. Those cries have been renewed this year. We'll have to wait to see if history repeats itself and all the categories are restored to on-air status. The Tony Awards have been slicing and disrespecting numerous below-the-title artists for years now in order to keep their show from running overtime. This past year they only presented three awards during the CBS broadcast and presented the rest in a pre-show ceremony on Paramount Plus. Did anyone think of doing that for the Oscars? 
Meanwhile, my campaign continues to see all the Oscar-nominated films I can fit in before March 27.  I have now seen all the Oscar-nominated shorts I possibly can which are available on line--4 of the 5 Animated Shorts; 4 out of the 5 Documentary Shorts; 2 out of the 5 Live-Action Shorts. (See list below)

Riz Ahmed in The Long Goodbye
Just this week IFC and other cinemas began showing all the short films together. Should I see the Oscar-nominated Shorts in the theater just to see the one or two I missed on line? Or wait until the whole packages comes online one week before the Oscar ceremony and zip through the ones I've already seen? It would make sense to see the Live-Action Shorts because I've only seen two of them (On My Mind, The Long Goodbye). The Long Goodbye is a shatteringly brief punch to the gut. A Indian-British family is enjoying a pre-wedding get-together when racist thugs suddenly show up and terrorize them. On the animated side, I am only missing one (BoxBallet). This past week I saw Bestia (for $2.50 on Vimeo, the only film available on that service) and Robin Robin on Netflix. Bestia is a weird, disturbing nightmare about a Chilean secret police agent and the weird relationship with her dog. Robin Robin is the exact opposite--a cute, Christmas fairy tale focusing on a robin who is adopted by a family of mice after her egg falls out of a tree. This is a sort of 30-min., mini-musical with songs depicting character and action. The voices are adorable, particularly Gillian Anderson using her Margaret Thatcher tones to give vocal life to a predatory cat. It's my favorite so far in this category.

Jessica Chastain in 
The Eyes of Tammy Faye
In the acting categories, I've now caught up with almost all 20. This past President's Day week, I viewed Penelope Cruz in Parallel Mothers via iTunes and Jessica Chastain in The Eyes of Tammy Faye through HBO on Demand. That only leaves Kristin Stewart in Spencer which is available on Hulu. The Best Actress favorite right now is a tie between Olivia Coleman for The Lost Daughter and Nicole Kidman for Being the Ricardos. Jessica Chastain just blew my head off with a dazzling, theatrical inhabiting of Tammy Faye Bakker. She ran the proverbial gambit from giggly Bible college student to drugged-out televangelist. She was proven herself to be a major actress, but since Tammy Faye has not had too much oomph behind it, she'll probably lose to one of her rivals in a better-promoted film.

I also watched the first half of The Mitchells Vs. Machines on Netflix and will catch up with the rest. It's a delightfully goofy sci-fi/family comedy, but will most likely go under to one of the Disney films running against it.

The Mitchells Vs. The Machines
Oscar Nominees/Buzzed Movies Seen:
West Side Story (in the actual cinema, Kaufman Astoria on a Monday afternoon, we were the only ones in the theater)
The Power of the Dog (Netflix)
The Lost Daughter (Netflix)
tick...tick..Boom! (Netflix)
Don't Look Up (Netflix)
Passing (Netflix)
Being the Ricardos (Amazon)
The Tragedy of Macbeth (Apple Plus)
CODA (Apple Plus)
Belfast (iTunes)
Nightmare Alley (HBO Max)
Dune (iTunes)
King Richard (iTunes)
Flee (Amazon) 
Ascension (Paramount Plus)
Parallel Mothers (iTunes)
The Eyes of Tammy Faye (HBO On Demand)
The Mitchells Vs. the Machines (Netflix)

Nominated Short Films
Lead Me Home (Netflix)
Three Songs for Benazir (Netflix)
Audible (Netflix)
Queen of Basketball (NY Times/YouTube)
On My Mind (The New Yorker/YouTube)
The Long Goodbye (YouTube)
Affairs of the Art (The New Yorker/YouTube)
The Windshield Wiper (YouTube)
Bestia (Vimeo--rented for $2.50)
Robin Robin (Netflix)

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